Rough! I ONLY just finished my third review/rewrite of this chapter and have not sent it to Jess for beta work yet. I didn’t want to miss this weekend to post though since – yep – I’m working next Saturday and going to see A BROADWAY show on SUNDAY! I’ve seen shows on tour – but never on Broadway. I’m a little excited. However (you knew it was coming) – I may be too busy to post (at least I warn ya).
Enjoy. Just a bit of pressure to do justice to Sophie-Anne’s end. I hope I met your expectations (based on your comments). Be sure to let me know.
Chapter 28 – If the jewels fit
The collective group in the lobby was stunned still and silent by Sophie-Anne’s proclamation about Sookie showing up in the same dress as the Queen.
When Sophie-Anne paused, Eric took the opportunity to suggest the group head to the throne room to sort everything out. Sophie-Anne reluctantly agreed and turned on her heel then huffed to her dais. Sookie had to contain her laughter since Sophie-Anne was practically stomping as she walked. Keeping a straight face was especially difficult given the mirth she was feeling from Eric. As her bonded said he would, he was thoroughly enjoying the meeting.
As they entered the throne room, Sookie and Eric both sought out Pam and the relief at seeing her present, well fed, and unharmed dominated the bond. Pam smiled at her maker and his bonded; they returned the gesture.
Once everyone was in the room and standing before the dais, Sophie glared at the group and barked out, “Explain why I have all of you present at my court. What right do you have to raise weapons here?”
Eric did his best to appear confused. “My Queen, we were scheduled for this time. As for the weapons, my guards were doing their job.”
“You, the human and Compton were the only ones scheduled for a meeting. I’ll have your head for threatening my children with your guards.”
From the back of the room, a voice spoke firmly without yelling. “Are you threatening a council member Sophie-Anne?”
Sophie-Anne froze when she saw the face that belonged to the voice and she quickly bowed in deference. “Council head, you honor me with your presence. Let me assure you, I threatened Sheriff Northman, not you.” She wanted to ask why the witch, Russell and Andy Pickner had arrived with Roman, but she needed to play nice for the moment.
“You are partially correct. You threatened Council Member Northman.” Pam beamed at her maker and sent pride and love through the bond. Roman enjoyed the Queen’s puzzled expression before he continued. “Sorry we’re late. Council Member Edgington and I were distracted by the décor outside. I hope you didn’t pay the designer; I mean it was obvious you were trying to incorporate concepts from the Louvre but it doesn’t translate to a smaller building. I’d be happy to recommend my decorator.” Roman enjoyed the look on Sophie-Anne’s face; he knew the Queen had designed her palace façade herself but she wasn’t going to divulge that now that Roman had insulted her work.
Sophie-Anne was trying to take in everything Roman said when Andre spoke, “Did you say Council Member Northman?”
“I did.” Wanting to treat the news of Eric’s place on the council as nothing special – for the moment – Roman turned the conversation back to the business of Bill Compton’s return. “But we’ll get more into that later. We have some other serious business to address first.” Roman pulled out his phone and navigated to a list. “First we’ll start with the unlawful incarceration and torture of Pamela Ravenscroft. Followed by the kidnapping of a human bonded to a vampire.”
“What are you going on about? Who is being charged here?”
Roman looked up, acting shocked that Sophie-Anne needed to ask. “Well, you of course. I’ll get to the others next.” He focused back on his phone. “Of course, you’ll also be charged with detaining Octavia Fant so you could force Amelia Broadway to attempt the removal of a bond.” He gave out a tut tut and shook his head. “Breaking a bond Sophie-Anne? A bond is one of our most sacred traditions. The penalty for that one will be steep.”
“Roman, I am innocent.”
Roman shook his head. “Sophie-Anne, you forget yourself. I am Council Head Zimojic.”
Sophie-Anne took an unneeded breath, likely to hold back her initial comment and continued. “Council Head Zimojic, this has all been some rouse formulated by Northman to somehow get a seat on your council. Never mind that though, he can leave the state, I’ll forget about charging him for these false accusations. The states assets under his care, however, will remain.” She put her hand out reaching for Sookie and that’s when she noticed the earrings. “The Richelieu Sapphires?” She turned to glare at Andre. “I told you I wanted to win that auction! We were outbid by my sheriff?”
Andre blanched; he knew the monarchy was going downhill fast. Getting through the night with their undead lives intact was in jeopardy. He could not say as much out loud, but Sophie-Anne had obviously lost all sense of priorities. To calm his Queen’s current tantrum then tried to explain. “The bidding went well over the five million we anticipated my Queen.”
Now it was Eric’s turn to blanch; Andre had given Sookie a pretty good clue about the cost of her new earrings. He could feel his bonded’s glare without turning to face her. He knew as soon as they were alone she’d have some choice words for the jewelry’s price; a price he never intended for her to discover. At least he could count on her to keep quiet while they were with others; this would give him time to come up with something to say.
Russell killed those plans.
Using a sing-song voice, the Mississippi king informed Eric. “Someone’s gonna get it.” Then he shook his head making a tut tut sound and thoroughly enjoying himself. “And you were warning others not to make her mad.”
Sookie tried. She really did try to contain her laughter at this point and she almost made it until Roman started snickering next to her.
The four giggled for a moment until the Queen had had enough and cut them off with an order directed at Sookie, “Come Telepath. You’ll remain at the palace now.” She paused and added with a smirk. “As will those earrings.” When Sookie didn’t move, the Queen nodded to her children, Wybert and Sigebert. “Go collect her.”
Sookie’s council guard, who had been quiet so far, finally spoke. “Come near her and I will kill you.” Not that the guard needed to speak, Eric had tugged Sookie even closer to his side and had his own sword drawn ready to protect her. Having a fierce loyalty to Eric, Rasul also stepped forward in front of Sookie, his own sword drawn.
Sophie-Anne continued her act. “Eric, call off your guards. Like I said, I won’t press charges for your false accusations. Go on; leave my state before sunrise and we’ll forget this ever happened.” Then she eyed Rasul. “I’ll deal with your act of treason after we break from court.”
Before Eric could respond, there was a large bark of laughter from Russell. “Oh my Sophie-Anne, when you decide to put on an act, you mean it.” He laughed again. “I think we should cut to the chase Roman, don’t you?”
“Yes Russell, I agree.” Roman fiddled with his phone again. “I have something I’d like to play for all of us. I think it’s the best way to clear up any confusion.” He looked around the room. “There appear to be enough chairs for us, let’s get comfortable, shall we.” Roman put his arm out to Sookie and the small couch behind her. She moved to sit and Eric joined her. “Oh, I almost forgot.” Roman turned to the Queen’s second. “Andre, would you be a dear and fetch the Queen’s pet, Hadley? She will be most interested in what I have here.” Roman knew Sookie would want Hadley to see that her cousin was safe. Selfishly, Roman wanted Hadley to hear the recordings he had. It would be illuminating for the girl. “While we wait for Hadley,” He turned to Pam who had taken a seat off to the side. “I’m sure you’d be more comfortable with your Maker.”
Pam rose, thanked the council head properly, and took a seat next to her maker. Eric immediately grabbed her hand and pulled it to his lap where he also held Sookie’s. The three calmed from the physical connection, even as slight as it was. Sookie was bursting to speak to Pam and tried to refrain but ended up giving in. First she leaned over Eric’s lap, and then she whispered. “How are you?”
“Sookie, my favorite breather. You know, everyone can hear you.”
“I know, I’m trying to be polite, but I’ve been so worried about you I couldn’t wait.”
“I am perfectly fine and very pleased to see you and Eric.” She smirked, “Rather, Council Head Northman.” They shared a smile and hand squeeze while they waited.
Sophie-Anne sneered, “Enjoy yourselves while you can. I’ll have your head Northman then I’ll take your pet.”
Eric glared but said nothing, for the moment.
Being summoned to court usually had bad outcomes for Hadley so when she got closer, everyone could hear what sounded like Andre dragging the girl with him. The pet was puzzled when she joined everyone in the room, but moved to her knees next to Sophie-Anne. With Hadley in the room, Roman gave a sinister smile and explained his recording. “Since Eric and I have been in contact these past few weeks, I was aware of the happenings with Compton and Sookie. As Council Head, it was my responsibility to act. Using a trusted resource in Sophie-Anne’s court, some recording devices were planted.” Sure he was the resource, Sophie-Anne glared at Rasul immediately. “I’ll play the evidence for you now.”
Andre: How long will Bill and Lorena have her?
Sophie-Anne: They will keep her for two weeks. It’s best this way. I can kill Pam by saying she killed Compton and that will have Eric returning here. Of course, he’ll be disposed of as well. Then we can have the telepath at last.
Andre: We are behind schedule though. The summit is in three months, can she be trained by then?
Sophie-Anne: Lorena has a talent for training pets. She will give us a good start. You will need to use both blood control and extreme punishment to complete the job. Getting her to yield will be your only focus until the summit.
Andre: Understood. Limits?
Sophie-Anne: Eager, aren’t you? No limits. Leave her face and front unmarked. I can dress her in gowns to cover the damage to her back and legs.
There was a pause in the recording then,
Sophie-Anne ((Chuckling)): you might want to put that thing away. I didn’t realize that having access to beat and whip the telepath into submission would be so exciting for you.
Andre: I have plans for more than that my Queen.
Sophie-Anne: I’m sure you do. In the meantime, go take care of that hard-on with Hadley or another donor. I don’t want you in court walking around like that; we have the New Orleans Mayor attending a meeting in an hour.
Andre: “Speaking of Hadley, what will happen when her cousin arrives? Any special plans?”
Sophie-Anne: “I’m giving her to Compton as a reward. She’s not as valuable as the telepath but she’s a properly trained pet. As soon as she offered her cousin’s talent, her place in the pal . . .”
To the side, Hadley gasped and looked up at Sophie-Anne in shock. “Master?”
Sophie-Anne backhanded her and told her to be quiet. Then she stood and spoke to Roman while moving closer to him. “Are we through here? You wanted my pet to think I betrayed her? Well you did that, no harm done.”
Roman’s face was almost predatory. “We aren’t nearly done with you yet, Sophie-Anne.” He moved to stand in her face. “SIT. DOWN. And remember to address your betters correctly.”
Sophie-Anne raised her chin and put her hand out for her child, Andre. He guided her back to her seat and they waited for the recording to start up again.
“There’s more to the recording but what I’m playing is edited. This next section is from some point last night after Council Member Northman called the palace to schedule tonight’s appointment.”
Sophie-Anne: How could Eric have Bill to return him? Try reaching Bill, Lorena or that sheriff, Picker or something like that.
Andre: Yes your majesty.
There was silence in the recording and the participants gathered it was Andre calling cell phones.
Andre: I cannot reach anyone.
Sophie-Anne: I don’t understand. We received confirmation that the bond was broken by the witch. The Were monitored the steps as the witch executed them.
Andre: Perhaps we should ask Octavia?
Sophie-Anne: Get her.
As Roman noted, the recording was edited and jumped ahead to Octavia’s arrival at court.
Andre: Should I glamour her my Queen?
Andre: You will speak the truth when I ask you questions.
Octavia (in a detached voice): I will
Andre: Did you provide the correct instructions for breaking a blond bond?
Octavia: I did
Andre: Is there a way Northman could have found his bonded without the blood bond?
Octavia: Of course.
Andre (Yelling): EXPLAIN!
Octavia: There are many ways others can find each other. Perhaps he’s had a tracking device embedded under her skin
The recoding went silent and the group waited for Roman to speak again. For maximum effect, he remained quiet for a few moments. Sookie took the opportunity to glare at the Queen. The first visit to the palace required her submissive behavior, not this time.
While everyone expected Roman to focus on Sophie-Anne’s crimes, he surprised them by turning to Octavia and smirking. “How did you do it?”
“Do what?” She coyly responded.
“Pick one: resisted the glamour, prevented the spell from working, or seemed to be in more control of this situation than Sophie-Anne was at the start?”
“Mr. Zimojic, I’m certain that I am not obligated to reveal my magic.”
He shrugged. “Of course not; thought I’d try though. I do need you to confirm that you were held here against your will?” She nodded to confirm and his face turned dangerous as he spoke again.
“Amelia Broadway, please come forward.” Roman waited while they witch was escorted to him by one of the guards. “Explain to everyone what you were ordered to do and why.”
She nodded and took a moment to compose herself. “Hadley called me, inviting me to the palace. There’s nothing unusual about that so I came when she called. We visited as usual during the day, but when the sun set, I was moved to a cell. A while later, Andre came for me and explained more of my situation. What I didn’t realize until then was that Octavia was here,” she turned to glare at Andre, “In chains and wouldn’t be released until I did his bidding. From there, I was glamoured but didn’t know it until I received a call with Andre’s voice as the trigger.” She sighed and took a moment. “Charles Clausen was my local contact. In short, I knocked out the Were guards via a spell and Charles came in and took Sookie once I spelled her. When Sookie finally came to in the car, we pulled over and I worked the spell that broke the bond. Charles had a copy of it, so he watched to confirm that I followed each step. Since I’ve never broken a blood bond, I don’t know what went wrong. It’s actually a spell in a book that I’m not experienced enough to use in my training yet.” She shook her head, knowing she was getting off-track. “Anyway, believing the spell was broken; we headed to Andy Pickner’s house. He’s a sheriff under King Edgington. I was locked in a bedroom. It wasn’t too far from where they had Sookie cause I could hear her screaming and yelling when the vampires woke.” Tears formed and she turned to Sookie. “I’m sorry, I really am.”
Eric ended that. “Miss Broadway, if you could stick to the facts please.”
“Yes sir, I mean council member Northman.” She paused. “I heard fighting after a while then Alcide came and got me.”
“Thank you Miss Broadway.” Roman dismissed her and called his next witness. “Andy Pickner?” A guard moved with him to stand before Roman. “You informed Northman that you had something to share?”
“I can corroborate the witch’s story and confirm it was Lorena and Bill who wanted the human,” he caught Eric’s glare and quickly amended. “Your bonded I mean.”
Eric asked his own question. “Did you touch my bonded?”
Andy’s head shook no while he emphasized. “The only vampires in the room after dark were Bill and Lorena. My colleagues and I were to wait.”
Eric turned to Sookie and she confirmed with a nod. Then he looked at Russell. “I have no use for this vampire any further. I trust he’s in good hands with you?”
Russell smile congenially. “Certainly Eric. You have too many you’ll need to deal with on your bonded’s behalf already.”
Roman smiled. “Speaking of others.” He turned to his head guard. “Bring them in.” Eric smiled as he saw Debbie Pelt and her fiancé, Charles Clausen being led in. “Eric, I offer you two Weres also part of your bonded’s abduction. To be clear, we know from Miss Broadway and your bonded, they both touched and hurt your bonded.”
“That they did. I have special plans for them.”
Roman and Eric shared a smirk before turning serious again. “I’ve gotten off track with the mention of others. Sophie-Anne, come forward for my judgment.”
“Judgment? I’ve done nothing wrong. The Northman is my sheriff and the Telepath belongs to Louisiana.”
Roman nodded to his left and several council guards moved forward and seized Sophie-Anne. Though she screeched most of the way, they did deliver her, on her knees, to Roman. “Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?” The two had a stare down until Roman said. “I order your final death.”
“This is an outrage! I am a Queen. You cannot kill me Roman.”
“I’m not; another council member is going to handle your situation.” He shook his head in disappointment. “And really Sophie-Anne, how many times tonight do I need to remind you about addressing your betters correctly? I should take your tongue but we don’t have time. Instead, I’ll reveal something that I alluded to before. You see, earlier tonight, Eric Northman, and his entourage all signed contracts with the Council. Eric now has a seat on the Council; making him a full Council Member.” He turned to Eric. “Will you join us please?”
“Certainly Roman.” Eric emphasized his ability to call the Council Head by his first name.
“Eric, I give you all rights to the sentencing of Sophie-Anne LeClerc, her children and William Compton.”
Eric didn’t hide his glee. In fact, he even spent a moment sharing a special smile with each of the vampires he was about to sentence. “William will remain in chains for future gun and games. I have special plans for him.” Turning to Bill, he added. “I’m certain it will be painful.” He approached Andre. “You will be killed for touching my bonded – but not yet; I’ll keep you with Billy boy.” Eric unsheathed his sword again and after giving the weapon a few test swings, he moved to his former Queen. “Sophie-Anne. For your crimes, you will be put to death. Before that, however, you will feel the pain of your children’s deaths. Sigebert and Wybert will be killed simply because once you are dead, they cannot be controlled. You know this, you never taught them to be on their own in all these years.”
Eric approached the Berts and Sophie-Anne wailed out, “NOT MY CHILDREN!” But it was too late. Eric had raised his sword and took their heads with one swing. Sophie-Anne crumpled to her knees and cried from the physical pain and heartache.
Eric didn’t miss a beat; he gripped Sophie-Anne’s hair and yanked her to her feet. The Queen started clawing at his hands for some relief from the pain, but Eric didn’t yield. “I wish we could play more, but I’ll need to satisfy myself with your child Andre and Bill.” Continuing to use her hair, he dragged the wailing queen and pushed her to her knees in front of Pam. “My child, I give you Sophie-Anne’s life.”
Shock was the first emotion that went through the bond from Pam to her maker. He turned and offered her assurance with a smile. Pam knew this meant, or likely meant, she would be a queen after taking Sophie-Anne’s life. She hesitated a moment and Eric nodded to Sookie. From her purse, she pulled a stake and handed it to Pam. Recognizing that the request for her to kill Sophie-Anne was a planned occurrence, she took the stake and nodded to Eric. “If you could hold her please for a moment?”
“Of course my child.” Eric felt determination and joy from Pam was about to get some revenge. “Sookie, you might want to avert your eye from Pam’s actions.”
“Thank you, but I’m good.”
WARNING: Pam gets her revenge. Look for END OF WARNING below if you want to skip.
Pam walked across the room to an armoire that stood off to the side while Sookie and Eric spoke. She returned with a few tools and placed them on the throne. First, she picked up the knife. “You bled me first, so I’ll bleed you.” With that, she made several deep slashes to key arteries in Sophie-Anne’s body and watched as blood drained from the wounds. “Now while you’re low on blood and unable to heal yourself, I’ll put you in silver.” With Eric’s help, she attached Sophie-Anne to the nearest column in the room and cut most of her dress off. Now that the flesh was exposed, she moved to wind silver chain around the queen.
Sookie stood and Eric first thought she was planning to leave but she approached Pam. “Let me handle the silver Pam, I know you have gloves on, but I don’t want you to weaken at all.”
“Well thank you my favorite breather.”
Sookie made quick work of winding the chain around the vampire, ignoring the screams as she did. Her actions shocked even herself, but earlier, when she’d heard the recordings and learned more details about Sophie-Anne and Andre’s plans for her something snapped. While she didn’t want to kill anyone personally, inflicting some pain was something she could handle. Besides, it was helping Pam with her tasks. Sookie returned to her seat and as soon as she heard Pam’s next statement, she did avert her eyes.
“You had Andre whip me until there was barely any skin left.” She moved to look Sophie-Anne in the eye. “I suggest you prepare yourself.”
Pam’s revenge went on for a while and Sookie closed the bond for it. She knew this action was greatly satisfying to Eric – and she didn’t blame him – but she didn’t want to feel his excitement and lust at another’s pain. When Pam was done she asked for the stake. It was Sookie that handed it over without a glance towards Sophie-Anne.
END OF WARNING
As Sookie turned, she heard Pam say her final words to Sophie-Anne. “I wish we had more time to play, but you, Sophie-Anne,” she raised the stake. “Die now.” Without delay, she struck with the stake and the Queen exploded.
“Dammit PAM!” Sookie yelled from next to her. The room turned and looked at Sookie, shocked that she would make such an exclamation. She ignored the stares and continued with her statement. “A little warning next time! This dress was new, now it’s covered with Sophie-Anne.”
Russell was the first to give into his amusement at Sookie and he laughed with enthusiasm. “My dear, I think you’ve become my favorite breather.” He turned to Pam. “You choose your favorites well.”
While Sookie tried to slough off the Sophie-Anne residue from her arms, Roman approached Pam. “Kneel.” Pam moved to her knees quickly and Roman tilted his head in Eric’s direction. Eric stood with his left hand on his child’s shoulder. “I Roman Zimojic, Head of the Global Vampire Council, hereby pronounce you, Pamela Ravenscroft, child of Eric Northman, Queen of Louisiana.” The Council head looked to Eric and smiled.
“I, Eric Northman, seated member of the Global Vampire Council, witness and affirm the appointment of Pamela Ravenscroft,” he glanced at Sookie briefly, “my first child, as the new Queen of Louisiana.”
Overwhelmed with joy – her own and her bonded’s – Sookie moved forward and embraced Pam as soon as she rose. “Long live the Queen.”
Pam smirked at her maker’s bonded. “I’m only allowing this embrace because you are my favorite breather. Don’t try your luck again though; you don’t want to make me mad.”
“Oh, I think I’ll hug you whenever I want Pam. It’s you that doesn’t want to make me mad.” She pointed to her dress and then waggled a finger at Pam. “You’re the one who’s getting a warning about ruining my dresses. Next time I won’t be forgiving.”
With a hand on her hip and sass in her voice, Pam responded. “Sweet little naïve Sookie, what has happened to you since my maker took you away?”
“I grew up Pam, learned a few hard lessons, and gained a special talent that you don’t want me to unleash on you.”
Russell interjected. “Queen Ravenscroft. I suggest you take Miss Stackhouse at her word. We had to save Nora from her talent earlier this evening.”
“That’s a story I want to hear, but I suppose I have a rule to establish first.” She bent down and plucked Sophie-Anne’s crown from the pile of sludge on the floor, wiped it on her own dress, sat on the throne, and placed the crown on her head. “Does anyone have a mirror? I have got to see how this looks on me!”
Sookie smiled. “You were born to wear jewels Pam.”
Eric shook his head. “Sookie don’t encourage her. Her credit card balance is already a large part of my budget.”
Sookie countered immediately. “Well as a Queen, she can surely afford her own jewels now.”
There was a gasp from Pam. “SOOKIE be quiet. I don’t want my first act as Queen to be arresting you from making such horrid statements.” Pam’s jovial manner changed almost immediately after she finished her banter with Sookie. As Eric predicted, ruling would be a perfect fit for his child and she did not disappoint him with her first requests. “Rasul.” She waited for him to come to the dais. “You are hereby promoted to my Lieutenant.”
Rasul bowed, pledged his fealty and moved to stand behind her throne and to the right. Eric and Sookie remained in court watching Pam in action. By the time Sookie and Eric had left in the early morning, Pam had ordered a financial review of Sophie-Anne’s rule, shuffled the region boundaries, called her Sheriff’s for a meeting at the next first dark, and assigned key vampires to focus on the rebuild of both New Orleans and the nearly bankrupt monarchy.
Though she took her new position seriously, Queen Ravenscroft did take a moment to gaze at herself in the mirror one of the donors finally brought to court.
“Thank God.” Sookie exclaimed to Eric after they were in their private bedroom in their New Orleans’ house. “With Pam in ruling mode I actually thought for a moment we lost the real Pam until she took a moment with the mirror.”
“Pam will balance being a Queen and being . . . well Pam perfectly.”
“And how will her maker balance living without her close?”
“I’ll miss her.” He kissed her nose. “I’ll struggle with the separation at first.” He pulled her to his lap. “I’ll need a distraction.” He started lowering the zipper on her dress. “Yes, I’ll need something to do.”
“I know just the thing!”
Eric looked up from nuzzling between her breasts, his eyes full of lust. “I bet you do Lover. Tell me.”
He felt her mischief through the bond before she responded; he braced himself. “Toilet scrubbing!”
Eric frowned. ‘Damn, I had hoped she’d forgotten about that.’